February 2, 2016
Editor's note: Shawn Peterson, a Shawnee resident, spoke against the Vantage at Shawnee apartment complex during the Jan. 25 City Council meeting. He submitted this guest column to email@example.com.
I am proud of the council members who voted against the Vantage Apartments. They sympathized with the concerns of the people. To you I express my sincerest gratitude. For the council members who voted for this project, I wish to express the concerns that I believe many residents feel.
I am proud of the citizens who fought against the Vantage Apartments. Without you there would have been no concessions even tried by the developers. You stood up for each other and helped your friends and neighbors. I hope you carry your head higher today knowing that you all helped shoulder the load those council members dumped onto you.
To Mayor Michelle Distler and Councilman Jeff Vaught, I wish someone would have taken the gavel away from you. You were way off on this. You both did not fight hard for concessions and were primarily responsible for unloading the fight to your citizens. You made Shawnee appear desperate. You will make all future efforts harder for the city, and it will no doubt be difficult next time since you did not get your way this time. I understand being in support of the project. You are completely entitled to your opinions. But so is everyone else in the city whom you tried to muffle with the pounding of your gavel.
The citizens liked Cobblestone better because it guaranteed a specific age group. It was an elderly community. That type of development would be difficult to turn it into something different. The Vantage Apartments could be easily converted to low income with just a little planning to maintenance and management. It would be easy for the Vantage Apartments to turn into any level of multi-family housing after it is complete.
You made the citizens do your job and represent themselves. You could not have been worse to the people who you should have been representing. You dragged them into something they did not want. That is not leadership. I call it bullying.
Mayor Distler and Councilman Vaught, I am sure that there could be some quality initial renters for the Vantage Apartments. But I am also sure that they could move away very quickly. Shawnee would not become the up-and-coming place for the younger generations to go because of the Vantage apartments. Shawnee may someday have the shopping and attractions that would encourage them to come. But the affluence has to be here to attract the shopping and amenities.
Many residents would suffer from this. The only primary beneficiaries were out-of-state developers and lawyers who in no way care about what happens to Shawnee.
To the citizens of Shawnee, thank you for standing up for each other. I could not be more proud of my family, friends and neighbors and to be a member of your community. I believe you as the citizens of Shawnee have friends inside and outside this city. I believe that those friendships will be what brings people and wealth to this city. I look forward to living among friends and family for a long time to come, but I will be sure to remember the pounding of that gavel.
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Originally published at: http://www.shawneedispatch.com/news/2016/feb/02/peterson-big-thanks-citizens-who-stood-against-van/